This Rain is a Cruel Kindness

Kindness in Cruelty by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the cruelty in kindness and the kindness in cruelty. I woke up planning to turn on the lights outside and admire the kind lights in the cruel demise of the colorful leaves, but it was pouring rain: a kindness for a Nanowrimo writer who enjoys writing on rainy days, but a cruelty for the electronics of the abstract photographer with her lights strung outside. So, still searching for the kindness in this cruelty, I took it as a sign that it was time to re-imagine the mirrorworld. I moved some things around in the attempt to find the eternal depth of field, and decided to only use white light today, and add more colors to my palette tomorrow.

I’m really enjoying revisiting some of my filters with new intention. For today’s images I used one of the hot glue filters I hadn’t really liked before, but the heart-ish shape worked so well for today. And a filter I made with the tiny hummingbird feathers that my friend sent me, which was such a kind gesture, which gave me the opportunity to repurpose the results of the cruelty of nature (cats killing birds and leaving their feathers strewn on the doorstep).

Nature’s Cruelty in Kindness and Kindness in Cruelty by Maria L. Berg 2022

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s challenge is a fill in the blank title prompt, “In the (blank).

In the Thick of It

kindness is thick as molasses in a pudding of cruelty
cruelty is thick as fat in a stew of kindness

kindness is thick as thieves in a dense forest of cruelty

cruelty is thick as blood in thorn bushes of kindness

kindness is thick as pea-soup fog over the underbrush of cruelty
cruelty is thick as chili in the traffic of kindness

kindness is thick as smog in the darkness of cruelty
cruelty is thick as bodies in a mob of kindness

kindness is thick as spit in the mucous of cruelty
cruelty is thick as sewage in a mushy mud of kindness

kindness is as thick as secrecy in the oil of cruelty
cruelty is thick as perfume on conspirators of kindness

Cruelty in Kindness by Maria L. Berg 2022


I’m excited to say that using Novel Writing Blueprint Workbook by Jill Harris as my morning pages journal is working exactly as I intended. This morning, I started writing in the “Genre Awareness & Organisation” section which inspired me to take a look at the Mystery genre at I was surprised that Mystery wasn’t its own genre or under Thriller, using the Genre 5-Leaf Clover, I found it was part of Story Grid’s Crime genre. My story definitely fit the Crime genre, so I looked over the 5 Conventions and the 6 obligatory moments, and started brainstorming. I’m really happy with the timing, that I was inspired to do this this morning, because I can imagine a ‘speech in praise of the villain’ coming up in today’s scene.

The next section in my journal was tropes, so I headed over to and searched for “mystery tropes.” There’s a long list of mostly over-done clichés, but Jill Harris reminds that some of these are reader expectations. So there may be some gems in there that I can twist and combine, reform and make my own.

So today I’m approaching my scenes with my genre and reader-expectations in mind.

I also want to bring my contradictory nouns into my scenes today. My protagonist is the personification of the truth in deceit and deceit in truth. Honesty can be both kind and cruel. How is my character kind in her cruelty, and cruel in her kindness? How will I show that?

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